French Graduate Admissions: Tips for the Interview

Have you applied for a master’s programme at Sciences Po via the French procedure*? If you successfully pass through the first phase of the application process – results of which are announced from 23 March 2020 onwards – you will move on to the second phase of the application process: the interview. This final stage of the admissions procedure will take place between the end of April and the start of May 2020. For many students, the interview can be the most stressful element of their application: what kind of profile are we looking for, how can you demonstrate your motivation, how best defend your ideas? Preparation is key! That is why we’ve laid out some simple guidelines to help get you onto the home straight.

*Candidates who apply via the international procedure are not subject to an interview.

1/ Start by rereading your application form

The aim of the oral exams is to determine your reasons for applying to Sciences Po and to judge how well your profile will fit with the educational style of the university.

Carefully reread your cover letter, CV, and any other elements included in your application. You should be able to provide an overview of all prior experience and your professional plans going forward: your academic career, internships, as well as any other extra-curricular experience, such as volunteering, political or social involvement, and other related activities. The interview panel will want to hear about all your interests and any elements of your personality that may distinguish you from other candidates.

2/ Get to know the course structure and professional prospects of your future Master

In choosing your Master’s programme you should be making a considered and realistic decision about your future career plans. Interviewees must be able to show that they know what direction they wish to head in and to present their reasons for that concretely and with conviction. That’s why it is vital that you get to grips with the structure of your course and the content you will be studying if you are accepted. This Master should hold no surprises for you!

3/ Take an interest in current affairs within your chosen domain

Students at Sciences Po must have a keen interest in the contemporary world and its major issues. The members of the interview panel will be looking out for your knowledge of and curiosity for current affairs in the professional universe that you wish to enter, be that law, journalism, public affairs and so on.

Some more practical advice

Be sure to arrive on the premises well in advance, so that you have time to calmly locate your room and begin your interview free of stress.

Don’t forget to bring the necessary documents: your interview confirmation letter and ID will be required in order to access the building.

In line with France’s Vigipirate regulation, security measures operate on all Sciences Po premises. Interviewees should be sure to pay attention to the university’s security requirements and advice.

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